If you want to earn your college degree, but don’t have savings or enough money to cover the expenses then there are a few alternatives available that you can try to attend college for free. There are many schools available that are almost tuition-free, you have to identify these schools or you can try to get scholarships to reduce your educational expenses. Moreover, you can also apply for financial aid and grants, negotiate with the college for financial support, or get a work-study job to support your college education.
- Tuition and fees play a very important role in the total cost of the education
- If you attend a private four-year institution then you have to pay at least double the amount of money compared to a public institute
- Applying for grants and scholarships is an excellent way to minimize the college expense
- AmeriCorps is a very renowned national service organization that offers education awards in exchange for community work
- If you can manage to get a good result then you can waive the cost of your college education
Factors That Increase The Cost Of Education
There are several factors available that play a very important role in the total amount of money you have to pay for your college degree. Factors include –
1. Tuition and fees
2. Room and board
4. Supplies and equipment
6. Miscellaneous expenses
Moreover, where you attend your college also matters. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), You have to pay at least double the amount of money if you attend a private four-year institution compared to a public one. On the other hand, two-year schools are even cheaper than four-year schools.
How To Go To College With No Money
There are plenty of ways available to attend college with no money or for free. Let’s check them out!
1. Apply for Grants and Scholarships
2. Serve your Country
3. Negotiate with the College for Financial Aids
4. Work for the School
5. Waive the Costs
6. Pick the Cost by your Employer
7. Choose a School that Pays You
8. Apply for Online Tuition-free Degree Programs
9. Minimize your Expenses
10. Attend a Community College
1. Apply For Grants And Scholarships
This is a great way you can minimize your college expenses and with a 100% scholarship, you can go to the college for free. There are many programs, institutions, companies, and organizations available that give away free money/scholarships for education. Scholarships are based on merit but, financial grants are based on need. If you complete your FAFSA then you can apply for grants and scholarships at the federal level. You can ask your high school guidance counselor to see if you are eligible for any local programs.
Moreover, you can also apply for scholarships offered by specific colleges. There are many online tools available like Scholarships.com, Fastweb, and the College Board’s scholarship search that you can use to find out which colleges are offering scholarships. You can narrow your search based on various factors like –
4. Financial need
5. Potential major
6. Military affiliation
8. Physical disabilities
Usually, these grants and scholarships are available on a first-come, first-served basis, therefore, the early you will apply for them the more money you could qualify for.
2. Serve Your Country
This is another way you can attend college for free. For example, The U.S. Coast Guard, Air Force, Military (West Point), Merchant Marine, and Naval academies offer free college opportunities to students who would serve after college. Moreover, financial helps also available through local Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) programs. The ROTC program is offered at more than 1,700 colleges and universities in the USA and this program offers paid college education and guaranteed post-college career to students in exchange for their service in the military after graduation.
AmeriCorps is another renowned national service organization that offers education awards in exchange for community work. The length of service is not fixed and it varies at AmeriCorps programs. In this program, a person can’t earn “more than the aggregate value of two, full-time education awards.” Moreover, you will receive a living stipend while serving in the program. Besides, you can also qualify for the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill if you have served on active duty on or after Sept. 11, 2001. This way you can cover the cost of in-state tuition, fees, etc. as well as receive allowance for living expenses, books, and supplies.
3. Negotiate With The College For Financial Aids
You can also negotiate with the college if you don’t have sufficient financial support to attend the college. For example, if you need financial help or you can show that other schools have offered larger financial aid then your school could grant more financial aid for you. The amount of money you can get from the school depends on what aid you’re eligible for as well as your school’s cost of attendance. Make sure you check your eligibility beforehand so you can ask for a reasonable number.
4. Work For The School
There are many schools available that offer free tuition for employees and staff of the school. Therefore, you can identify such schools and work for the school to study for free. The terms for work for the school vary by the institution but most of the schools offer tuition-free classes for full-time workers. You can call the admissions office to know more about these programs.
5. Waive The Costs
If you can manage to get a good result then you can waive the cost of your college education. Based on academic performance, or other factors schools usually offer waivers to students. Manuel Fabriquer, founder of College Planning ABC said,
“Tuition waivers may be available for (current or former) military and talented students, even families that have substantial income can get tuition waivers if (the student) has the right test scores.”
Moreover, if the parents of the student work for a college, then the student might get a full or partial waiver. There are many schools available that also offer waivers for Native American students. You can call the financial aid office to know more about these schools.
6. Pick The Cost By Your Employer
There are many companies available that pick up the education cost of their employees. So, if you work for a company then find out if your company offers this facility to its employees. Companies like Disney, Starbucks, Papa John’s, etc. will pick up your college tab! On the other hand, some companies offer tuition reimbursement up to a certain amount for their employees. You should ask your employer and find out if they are willing to provide tuition reimbursement or pay for costs up to a certain amount so that you can continue your education.
7. Choose A School That Pays You
There are many schools available that will pay you to focus your studies on a single subject. For example, schools like the Webb Institute and the Curtis Institute of Music offer a select range of academic programs where they pick up the tuition cost for every student. However, before enrolling in this type of program make sure you have an interest in that subject.
8. Apply For Online Tuition-free Degree Programs
Nowadays online education programs have become very popular and there are many online courses available that offer tuition-free degree programs. For example, Starbucks has a partnership with Arizona State University (ASU) to provide its workers with online programs and degrees for free. Moreover, The Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia and Berea College in Kentucky also offer online tuition-free programs where you can enroll yourself.
9. Minimize Your Expenses
If you have a limited budget or running low on money then you can try to minimize your college expenses. Apart from the tuition and fees, there are many other expenses available for college education like housing, transportation, groceries, etc. However, if you can able to minimize some of your costs then it will help your higher education. For example, on-campus living will cost you lots of money. So, if you can able to live at home then you can save thousands on your living expenses.
10. Attend A Community College
This is an excellent way you can go to college without any money. There are many community colleges available that offer free tuition programs. For example, The Tennessee Promise Program was the first tuition-free program in the USA and now other states have also implemented similar programs. However, each state has different standards for eligibility for this type of community college program. Some states have “last-dollar programs,” and it covers the cost of tuition and fees only after another aid has been applied. On the other hand, few stats have “first-dollar programs,” where you will receive the funds before receiving federal and state grant aids. First-dollar programs are more convenient but nowadays, last-dollar programs are becoming more common than first-dollar programs. You can contact the local authority to know all the details about the community colleges.
Finally, there are lots of ways you can get a free college education. But you have to make yourself ready and start applying for scholarships, grants, waives, etc. as soon as possible. The early you start your process the more your chances will be to attend college for free. If for any reason you can’t manage free college then a student loan could help you achieve your education.
Last Updated on October 31, 2022 by Magalie D.
Magalie D. is a Diploma holder in Public Administration & Management from McGill University of Canada. She shares management tips here in MGTBlog when she has nothing to do and gets some free time after working in a multinational company at Toronto.